Take our Elk Quiz
Elk in Cataloochee Valley - The Call of the Wild
Click above to watch Gary Wilson's "Elk in Cataloochee Valley - The Call of the Wild"

Some 12 years have passed since the first 25 elk were reintroduced into GSMNP after nearly a 200-year absence. It is estimated that the current population has risen to 150 since then. And once again it's nearly "rutting" time.


The first person to answer all 10 of the following quiz questions correctly will win our newly-published "Smoky Mountain Elk" book and a great elk tote!


 To learn even more about the Smoky Mountain elk herd, get your copy of Rose Houk's book HERE. Not only is it guaranteed to help you answer all the quiz questions correctly, it's packed with beautiful photos.

Anyone want to make a wager?
The Lungs of the Earth
Click above for "The Lungs of the Earth"
Video by Gary Wilson

If there's one thing we've had our share of this year in the Smokies it's rain. Earlier this month rainfall totals at two locations had already come close to surpassing the yearly average, with four months to go before we close the books on 2013.


Elkmont's total rainfall for 2013 as of today is 60.9 inches, 40% ahead for the year to date; its record in 2004 was 79.9 inches; and its average (for the years 1981-2012) is 60.98 inches.


Mt. LeConte's total rainfall for 2013 as of today is 76.25 inches, 28% ahead for the year to date; its record in 2009 was 104.3 inches; and its average (for the same span of years) is 84.66 inches.


Just how far can this wet weather go? We want you to weigh in with your predictions. The guess closest to reality by the end of the year for either location will win a free annual membership in GSMA and a handy GSMNP rain poncho.


Who's in? Click HERE to make your predictions. The contest will remain open until Sept. 6.

Official Park Store

Buy Here to Help the Park!


NEW: One of our most popular items in years, this pottery mug is made in the USA and will remind you of your trip to the Smokies with every sip you take. This mug comes in three colors with three different logo options: historic cabin, tulip poplar and black bear.


 Sorghum molasses is the food of the gods, or should be. Delicious on everything from Grandma's biscuits to Saturday night ice cream. 


Sorghum-making demonstrations are set for the following dates at 
Cades Cove:

Aug. 31, Sept. 1 & 2 (Saturday, Sunday & Labor Day)

Sept. 13, 14 & 15 (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)

Sept. 20, 21 & 22 (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)

Nov. 9, 10 & 11 (Saturday, Sunday & Veterans Day)

Nov. 15, 16 & 17 (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)

Nov. 22, 23 & 24 (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)

Nov. 29, 30 & Dec. 1 (Friday, Saturday & Sunday-Thanksgiving Weekend)

Ready for cooler temperatures? You will be with this toasty warm thermal long-sleeve t-shirt featuring the GSMNP official logo. It's just the thing for crisp morning hikes, followed by sitting by the campfire.

Co-Business Members of the Month 


These two generous Business Members donated  to the annual Membership Appreciation Weekend auction a hand-sewn quilted wall hanging and copy of "Quilts and Coverlets of the Smokies" autographed by Maria Holloway of Holloway's Country Home.




Highland Craft Gallery

755 Buckhorn Road
Gatlinburg TN 37738
tel: 865.430.8951

Traditional and contemporary crafts of metal, fiber, glass, clay, wood and leather, handmade by outstanding regional artisans. Featuring the hand-forged ironwork of Smoky Mountain Blacksmith Studio.


Holloway's Country Home

3892 Cosby Hwy
Cosby TN 37722
tel: 423.487.3866

Holloway's Country Home is located in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 20 miles outside Gatlinburg, TN. All products are handmade, originating in centuries of rural tradition. Color, cut, pattern, fabric... all this and much more goes into the making of their quilts. In addition to a large number of original and vintage quilts, Holloway's has quilt kits and supplies to make your own. "Most importantly, this is our home and all of our products are about making your home more comfortable and inviting," said owner Marie Holloway. 


New Business Members


Three Jimmy's

1359 East Parkway
Suite F
Gatlinburg TN 37738
tel: 865.325.1210

GSMA Members receive a 10% discount on food


Country Cobbler of Gatlinburg

170 Glades Road, Suite 15
Gatlinburg TN 37738
tel: 423.231.6640


If you own a business and would like to be included in this newsletter and our website, contact Westy Fletcher at 423.487.3131 or Westy@GSMAssoc.org 

GSMA Members Benefit...  


GSMA members earn discounts at more than 50 North Carolina and Tennessee businesses. Think about it - 20% off here, $5 off there, and before you know it, your membership dues have paid for themselves. It's our way of saying "Thank You" for your membership! See our complete list of supporting business on our website.
248,100+ Fans on Facebook! 
Anyone want to venture a guess as to when we'll reach a quarter million fans? We get more "Likes" when you help. Share our posts and invite your friends to "Like" us on 
We have a NEW Twitter


If you'd like to receive online newsletters from us, as well as other periodic information, click HERE.

 **We never share your address with anyone, and we never send spam.

Annual Membership Weekend

is Sept. 13-15 in Townsend, TN!


We could not be more thrilled by the response we've received to our 60th anniversary and annual Membership Appreciation Weekend. To date, we've registered more than 200 people for a weekend of food, fellowship and great big fun! And there's room for more. Members are invited to join the party with your registration today.


As a reminder, those attending the event in two weeks will want to arrive in time for Friday's activities:

- Registration begins at 3 p.m. at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, followed at 5 p.m. by a BBQ dinner and birthday cake

- New Membership T-shirt design contest voting begins (see logo contest information below)

- Cakewalk featuring the string sounds of Michael Searcy and Darrell Acuff

- Moonshine tasting by Ole' Smoky Distillery

- "Corn from a Jar" book signing by author Daniel Pierce

- Storyteller and humorist Sam Venable takes the stage at 7 p.m.


Then on Saturday, prepare for action in the form of hikes, talks, mountain crafts and geocaching in the Townsend area. Saturday night's activities move to the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont:

- GSMA 60th Anniversary meeting

- Dinner under the Tremont tent

- Live and Silent Auctions (exciting list of items growing daily!)

- 1950s Sock Hop with DJ Hal Kinney and ice cream social


Deadline to register is Friday, so don't delay! For more details on the weekend schedule and our list of auction items, visit our website HERE.

What will the fall color season bring?


Fall color season has begun, albeit modestly. Early changing sourwood (red) and yellow buckeye (gold) trees are just now showing the first color of the year.

Steve Kemp: Knows fall colors and where to find them.

At the higher elevations, witch-hobble is turning from green to burgundy. Bright red berries are showing up on dogwood trees.


Late summer wildflowers continue to be spectacular with jewelweed, goldenrod, New York ironweed, cardinal flower, Joe-Pye weed, and great blue lobelia putting on brilliant shows.


Recommended hikes include Clingmans Dome Tower, Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald, Road Prong, Thomas Divide, and Charlies Bunion. Good drives are the Blue Ridge Parkway and Clingmans Dome Road.


Traditionally, fall colors peak in the Great Smoky Mountains in early October at the highest elevations and in late October or early November in the valleys. What will this year bring?


Watch for hawks migrating south in early-mid September. Good places to watch for them include Look Rock Tower and Newfound Gap. Often a surge of hawks will follow the first strong cold front in early September southward.
Other migrants will be on the wing as well, including warblers headed for their balmy retreats in the Caribbean, Florida and Central America.
The wildflowers of early September can be nearly as bedazzling as spring's. Especially asters, New York ironweed, jewelweed, goldenrod, and yellow-fringed orchid. Fall colors will be very good at the highest elevations in late September. Try a hike on Thomas Divide or the Appalachian trails or a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Click HERE for more detailed trail information.

Deadline is Aug. 30 to submit your design 

Show us what GSMA Membership means to you.


Calling all artists: You have until this Friday to submit what could be THE design to be featured on our Members' Only line of merchandise, starting with a new T-shirt.


Think of the possibilities - some creative combination of native animals, plants, waterfalls, locations, acronyms, abbreviations, slogans and mottos could become THE GSMA Membership icon for years to come.


We are looking for an image that represents our membership program, our organization's ideals and the National Park as a whole.


Download the entry form HERE and submit it with your design through Aug. 30, 2013. Submissions must be e-mailed to membership@gsmassoc.org.


GSMA staff members will choose up to 10 designs, which will then be open to full membership voting during the annual Members Appreciation Weekend. Can't make it to this year's meeting? No problem, we'll allow for virtual voting Sept. 12-15, 2013.


The top 3 designs after voting closes Sept. 15 will be narrowed to a single winning design, which will be featured on our first-ever Members' Only t-shirt, as well as on an entire line of products designed to make our members stand out in a crowd. 


The winner will receive one of the new shirts, along with a GSMA Lifetime Membership opportunity.

Share your spooky Smokies stories


"It was a dark and stormy night. The eerie hoot of an owl could be heard in the distance...."


With the feeling of fall in the air a matter of days away, we've been thinking ahead toward October and who or what might choose to make an unannounced appearance as autumn draws near. In 1,000 words or less, we want to hear your spooky Smokies stories: the truth, the made-up truth or anywhere in-between.


We'll select an overall top storyteller to receive a copy of "Mountain Ghost Stories," and print the tale on our website. The region's storytelling tradition is nearly as old as the mountains themselves, and those who passed were not soon forgotten, especially if they didn't want to be forgotten. 


Points will be awarded for fright factor, originality and brevity. Go ahead, scare us. Send your submission to our Membership email today.

Disaster strikes GSMA in the 1990s


Early in the 1990s, the world began to look toward the end of the decade and wonder what havoc was possible with Y2K. Little did the GSMA leadership know that real tragedy would strike much sooner in the form of a fire that destroyed its headquarters building.

1990 - GSMA makes a $1,000 gift to the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club in support of its Ridgerunner program; the association also purchased its first FAX machine this year; and end-of-the-year membership total was 800.

The 1991 fire at GSMA headquarters destroyed many valuable records and resources.
1991 The year of the fire that destroyed the association headquarters inside the park. It was also the year that discussions began with the Blount County Chamber of Commerce about GSMA moving into its new building in Townsend to offer national park information to visitors.

1992 - With funding support from GSMA, the Otter Reintroduction Program in GSMNP got under way on Feb. 10.

1993 - Circulation of the award-winning Smokies Guide park newspaper exceeds 600,000 copies.

1994 - From the membership ranks came the suggestion to start an "adopt an historic building program; the official "Adopt a Cabin" inside GSMNP was initiated in 2012 to an overwhelmingly positive response.

1995 - The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians installed their first female chief, Joyce Dugan, in a ceremony attended by many park representatives. Three days later, Hurricane Opal crashed through the Smokies, leaving a trail of devastation in its path.

1996 - The Oconaluftee Mountain Farm Museum brochure was expanded from 12 to 16 pages with additional information about the area's fences, gardens and family roles.

1997 - With funding from GSMA, national park "super" volunteer Robin Goddard led a group of nine students and three teachers to Smolensk Lakelands in Russia, the second half of an exchange program that brought Russian students to the Smokies in 1996.

1998 - Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge was highlighted by two GSMA presentations this year. This event continues to be a favorite of the community for providing educational opportunities in the winter months.

1999 - A search of the minutes from December found no mention of the term "Y2K," but they did mention that expansion of the Sugarlands Visitor Center GSMA sales area was celebrated with a gala.

"August in Cades Cove"
August in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Click the arrow above to watch Valerie Polk's Smoky Mountain Minute titled "August in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park"

We hear this all the time: "Memories are made in the Cove." So, before we leave August and most of summer behind, we want to share this Cove memory with you.
Valerie Polk's "August in Cades Cove" highlights the Cove's variety wildlife, its wide-open fields and its historic structures. Without exception, the Cove is like no other destination. 

The Great Smoky Mountains Association bookstore in the Cove, located about halfway through the 11-mile loop, has many items available specific to this much-loved area of the park. If you weren't able to stop or if you didn't find exactly what you were looking for, consider visiting our online bookstore, where you'll find t-shirts, books, patches, calendars, maps and much more to remember your most recent trip to the Cove. Or, when it comes time to give a loved-one a gift, share your love of the Cove with them.
All purchases in the Cove and at our other Association stores support education, preservation and research in this national park.
to Last

1. The smallest member of the falcon family, this handsome specimen is one of the most colorful. Often seen perched on a fence or wire, it usually snatches its prey from the ground. American Kestrel

2. This small, stocky bird with pointed ear tufts can be detected by its whinnying song. Whether its overall color is a gray, rufous, or the occasional brown morph, the patterned camouflage of this bird blends in eerily with tree bark. Eastern Screech  
3. During migration large numbers of  Broad-winged Hawks can best be seen in the higher elevations. This congregation of birds of prey in flight is called a: Kettle 
4. This owl with yellow eyes, a black bill, and no ear tufts, can also be identified by the white "Y" marking on its face, resembling eyebrows and extending down between the eyes. Northern Saw-whet Owl 
5. This bird spends most of its time beneath the tree canopy and seems to prefer conifers as a nesting site. Songbirds make up almost 90% of this bird's diet. Their flight consists of a few quick wing beats followed by a short glide. Sharp-shinned Hawk   
6. The Red-tailed Hawk is a member of this genus of raptors. They are robust, with broad, rounded wings, and short broad tails. They can be observed soaring in wide circles or perched in a prominent place. Though considered opportunistic, they feed mostly on small mammals. Buteo
7. Also known as the "fish hawk", live fish make up 99% of this bird's diet. It has a reversible outer toe allowing it to grasp its prey with two toes in front, two in back. Barbed pads on the soles of its feet aid in grasping slippery fish as it dives feet first into the water. Osprey
8. Known for stooping (diving) speeds upwards of 200 mph, this bird's main food source is medium-sized birds which it grabs in mid-air or strikes with its feet hard enough to stun or kill it... then swoops to catch it. Almost eradicated by DDT, it was taken off the Endangered Species List in 1999. Peregrine Falcon
9. "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?" is a familiar sound in old forests. The bird awaiting an answer has a serious predatory threat in the Great Horned Owl. This bird of prey doesn't migrate or move around much. They may perch above water or wade in shallow water to catch fish and crayfish. Barred Owl
10. This summer resident breeds here and migrates, usually in large flocks, to Northern South America, in September where it over-winters in tropical forests. Their travel averages 69 miles per day. When arriving at their destination they don't move around much. Gee... I wonder why! Broad-winged Hawk


WINNER:  GSMA Business Member Kyle Zeringue, Huntsville, AL

Any Questions?- For questions about online purchases, click HERE and the Mail Order department will help you.
- For questions about membership, click HERE and Judy or Marti will help you.
- For questions about business membership, click HERE and Westy will help you.